St Edmunds Real Beer & Food Festival
Think of it as Taste Idol: one lucky person will have a chance to join Greene King’s official tasting panel following the Test your Tastebuds challenge taking place at the St Edmunds Real Beer & Food Festival on 21–22 May
“We are simply on a mission to find Britain’s top taster – young or old, male or female, ale aficionados or complete beginners,” says Susan Chisholm, Greene King’s head beer taster, pictured. “The key is a highly tuned palate but you don’t need to be an ale lover to do it. Some of our tasters had never even drunk a full pint of beer before they joined the panel.”
Those interested need to head to the brewery during the weekend and pit their palate and descriptive powers against six samples of beer. All those who correctly identify the flavours will be entered into a prize draw, the winner joining Greene King's tasting panel for a year.
Masterclasses in beer tasting are also taking place as well as fun half-hour sessions throughout the day led by Greene King’s head brewer John Bexon and the irrepressible beer writer and broadcaster, Melissa Cole.
Melissa and Susan will also be running two Girls Guide to Real Ale aimed at “women who love good food and drink but aren’t sure about beer should come,” says Susan. “After all it’s bursting with flavour and it’s our national drink – not the national drink for men!”
Or you could mix grain with grain, for a Whisky & Beer tasting at noon on either day when John teams up with English Whisky Company’ distiller David Fitt for an insight into the artisan skills of brewing and distilling.
The common link is the local barley and this local sourcing is the key to the birth of the Festival, now in its second year. “We’ve teamed up with other producers who share our belief in the region’s fantastic food and drink,” says John.
Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of the brewery gardens, the rollcall of goodies on offer includes Jimmy’s Farm’s meat and sausages plus a fine array of smoked cheese and meats, homemade pesto, sweets and pastries. And Aspalls cider and Breckland Orchard will also be there.
Real Beer & Food Festival, £3;
Greene King Brewery Gardens, Bury St Edmunds; entrance via Westgate Street & Cullum Road
Further info on the festival & tasting ticket prices, see here.